Role Swap game
Have you ever tried a role-swap game before?
If you haven't tried it yet, I advise you to start now, as it greatly enhances your emotional intelligence. It enables you with such EQ that makes you able to influence others more, understand them, and release their abilities.
This may sometimes require you to do it in practice by performing job tasks which are different from your basic tasks, so you take the role of an accountant or a correspondent with government departments, or even a provider of coffee and tea services.
Try it sometimes, it is an exciting and fun experience from which you will learn a lot.
It is true that most managers might have some understanding of most jobs and tasks of the other employees. However, it is only at that moment when you move to play the role of the other employee practically in his office or space that you will have begun to understand more deeply his view of things and how he deals with them.
There is a group of CEOs, human resource managers, and others who have the ability to mentally move to the other employee’s area, with considerable understanding of his ideas, aspirations and challenges, but there are those whose ability to do so is less; for that, you will find them making judgments from their angle, and assuming that every employee enjoys the same abilities or the same level of understanding for things as they do.
Through my practice as an Executive Coach, I noticed a lot that requires attention in this regard. I cannot forget that CEO (Khaled) who was complaining about the poor performance of one of his employees, and blaming him for his slow achievement, only to discover after playing the role-swap that the employee was not slow, but he was rather accurate, and his accuracy requires spending more time to build things in the right way.
What exactly happened?!
I said to Khaled : “What would happen if you did the work of that employee for two days?” He was excited about the idea and said: “This is a great idea, so I can prove practically that the employee has failed, and I will say to him: Look at me, I will do your work in a shorter period of time than you take.” So, he actually started doing his employee’s work immediately. However, after two days, when we talked about the results of the experience, Khaled discovered that the number of mistakes he made in two days exceeds what that employee could make in three months or more.
Therein, he discovered that what suits the CEO in terms of speed of achievement and decision-making, does not apply to that employee whose work depends on correctness, quality, precision, and accuracy.
We can apply Khaled's experience to many of the people we deal with, your son, your husband, even the cleaner or the waiter in his restaurant. It is a rich experience, and I have found many businessmen with whom I dealt to apply it in practice. One of these businessmen has never worked in making or serving desserts, but he took that role in a store selling desserts, and imagine what he did? His took the role of cleaning the shop and the tables. He did not hesitate to accept that role even though he could buy that entire store if he wanted to, but he wanted to look at things from different angles to be able to make the right decision about entering this field of business.
I am not here asking you to spend your working days moving between jobs, this is not the case, but rather the goal is to raise the ability to mentally move between positions’ and jobs’ requirements to better understand and have insights about the lives of others and employees in your line.
The example of (Khaled) that I mentioned earlier can apply to other matters such as the needs of employees, the work load, the challenges they are face with, etc, and understanding them based on the individual differences, whether on the mental, psychological, physical, or skill level.
The mental level includes the speed of learning, the ability to focus, creativity, and the like.
The psychological level includes satisfaction, happiness, emotional stability, the extent of social or financial challenges, and psychological well-being in general.
As for the physical level, it includes the physical ability to complete tasks and the level of disabilities, if any, no matter how small, such as visual impairment, speech impairment, motor impairment, and others.
And the same applies to the skill level, which includes previous experiences, inclinations, the level of learning the employee has reached, etc.
You may see that this is a sort of complication of a simple issue, but it is not actually. Leadership is the ability to release the energies of individuals to achieve goals in the best way; and it is not easy to lead the people of your organization with the same or a one-way view as if they are copies of each other. Here, you should remember always that your leadership role is not in getting things done, your employees will get them done! Rather, your role is to be close to your employees, to understand them, to be able to communicate deeply with them and interact with their ideas, so that you can professionally release those abilities that create the required greatness and the desired productivity.
One of the great measures/scales that help leaders know their ability of understanding the map of others is the Emotional Intelligence Measure. This measure does not only support you in understanding others, but also supports you in understanding yourself and your emotional map. Psychologists have stated that emotional intelligence accounts for up to 90% of success. One of the angles that this scale measures is the aspect of the ability to recognize the emotions of others (Social recognition), in addition to measuring your ability to manage the emotions of others (Social Control). The higher this ability is, the greater the leadership success you achieve.
The results of this scale also contains sub-skills that can be measured, in addition to giving you hints through which you can improve these skills, to reach a higher level of emotional intelligence.
One of the useful means in understanding the other's angle of view and their map is listening to him; and I do not mean here to hear him! But I mean listening deeply to the words he says and his gestures that give you a hint which helps in understanding his fears, desires, and aspirations; and this makes you his success and excellence partner more than being his boss or manager.
A short story
Hisham is a CEO in one of the large service companies. He believed for a period of time that the reason for the poor performance and employee turnover of his customer service employees is their desire for a greater financial return, and he was fed up with their performance, and complaining that everyone working in this job or most of them do not care and do not act responsibly. I told him about listening to them in the way I mentioned, and when he listened to them deeply and gave them a wide opportunity and freedom to speak, it was surprising for him to discover that the constant criticism he exercised on them without encouraging them and praising them for their achievements was the constant they were suffering from every day, and their performance improved once he changed the way he treats them as he discovered, when he took their job role, that it was difficult for him to bear what they were undergoing under his method of managing.
The challenges of leadership in our present time are great and qualitative. Through my experience in this field, I have found that many leaders are immersed much in field work, writing reports, and implementing tasks, while they neglect the most important part that represents and detriments their success or failure, which is the human being. Machines do not need a leader more than their need for a programmer, but humans are not machines that can be programmed on the same program that works with everyone. The more you, as a leader, deal with each employee as an individual, different from the others with the same job, the more you create a distinct and integrated team in which each individual feels belonging, enthusiasm, and a sense of responsibility.
Finally, I tell you, how about you try now! You get up from your office or place to perform the duties of that employee you criticize. Then talk to him from (his angle and your experience).